What’s important to consider when starting an IT career? Who better to ask than people already working in the field?
We sought advice from the IT professionals we interview for 451 Alliance research. Here are some of the tips they shared.
Understand the basics
Knowing how to do a process through a GUI is good, but comprehending what’s going on under the surface is even better. Networks, switches, storage, servers, how are all the elements in the IT environment connected and communicating? What are the dependencies? And if you’re heading for IT management, think about developing a big picture view of the business model and the organization overall, to understand how IT efforts fit into the whole.
Find what you like – and what you don’t like
It’s usually easy to understand what we like to do, what activities make us happy and full of enthusiasm to do more. But we all have things we don’t like to do, and identifying those aspects of the job, while not always easy, is important as you plan your career. Sometimes doing things you don’t like to do is unavoidable, but at least you can try to minimize those and ensure your career is headed in a different trajectory.
Be a learner
Try to experience new things and find opportunities for knowledge, training or experience. That search is probably easier at the beginning of an IT career, when workers often explore different parts of the IT landscape.
And it’s important to learn new things because exposure to new skills and ways of working will show you what’s a good fit for you (or what’s not). Fortunately, since technology is constantly changing, there’s always something new to learn in IT.
Location, location, location
That’s what real estate specialists claim is most important, and the same can be said of your early career in IT (at least, figuratively). For your first IT job, try to land in a good organization so you’ll learn best practices and form good work habits. During job interviews, you should be evaluating the organization to make sure you’ll be working with knowledgeable people you can learn from. And don’t forget identifying mentors who can be valuable in your career journey, helping you sort things out and steering you in the direction of growth.
Want to chime in with your tips for IT professionals early in their career? Sign up for an in-depth interview: Share your thoughts.